Latest New Mexico news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. MDT

May 5, 2021

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The University of New Mexico may require students and staff to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to return to campus in the fall. The university on Monday posted a proposed vaccine requirement along with a statement on its plans to return to in-person instruction and regular campus activities. The university said it was seeking comment on the proposed requirement. The proposal says the requirement would apply to students and staff "unless they have been granted a reasonable accommodation." A New Mexico State University spokesman said NMSU officials encourage employees and staff to to get the vaccine but haven't decided to impose a requirement. 


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — From the U.S. capitol to American Southwest Indigenous communities, top government officials, family members and advocates are gathering as part of a call to action to address the ongoing problem of violence against Indigenous women and children. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland is commemorating the day Wednesday as female motorcyclists take to the streets in Phoenix and advocates use social media to raise awareness. As part of the Washington ceremony, a red memorial shawl with the names of missing and slain Indigenous women was draped across a long table to remember the lives behind what Haaland called alarming and unacceptable statistics. More names were added Wednesday.


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Sixty years after Alan Shepard became the first American in space, everyday people are on the verge of following in his cosmic footsteps. Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin company used Wednesday's anniversary to announce an auction for a seat on its first crew spaceflight in July. Elon Musk's SpaceX will use its newly returned capsule to launch a billionaire in September, along with a pair of contest winners and a hospital worker. Shepard rocketed from Cape Canaveral on May 5, 1961. To date, 579 people have flown in space. That number is expected to soar with upcoming tourist flights.


WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) — The Navajo Nation on Tuesday reported 12 new confirmed COVID-19 cases and one additional death. Tribal health officials say the total number of cases since the pandemic began more than a year ago now is 30,543 on the vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah with 1,282 known deaths.  Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez said more than half of the reservation's adult population has been vaccinated, but people still need to stay home as much as possible, wear masks and avoid large gatherings. 


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — The New Mexico Department of Health is urging parents to register children ages 12-15 for eventual access to coronavirus vaccines when shots are approved for lower age groups. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for kids aged 12 and older next week, setting up shots for many before the beginning of the next school year. Health Department spokesman David Morgan says the agency encourages parents to register children right away with the state's vaccination website to help ensure access later. The latest state data shows more than 45% of residents 16 and older are fully vaccinated.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A special congressional election is underway for an Albuquerque-based seat that has been dominated by Democrats since 2009. Early voting by absentee ballot began Tuesday as major party candidates clashed in their first public debate. Six candidates are vying for the 1st Congressional District post to succeed Deb Haaland after her departure from Congress to lead the Interior Department. Democratic state Rep. Melanie Stansbury and Republican state Sen. Mark Moores are at the forefront of the contest that includes a Libertarian contender and an experienced independent. Republican Party leaders believe they have a rare opportunity to flip the district with the possibility of low turnout.


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico has set a record for the highest monthly royalty earnings from oil and gas leases. The State Land Office says the nearly $110 million that was earned in April was more than any month in state history. Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard said Tuesday that the revenue boon will benefit public schools, hospitals and other state programs that are funded by drilling, development and other activities on state trust land. The previous record for royalty earnings was nearly $109 million in February 2020. That record was set before a global price war and pandemic market forces disrupted the oil industry.


SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — A senator in New Mexico has filed a tort claim notice against New Mexico Health Secretary Dr. Tracie Collins in response to an ethics complaint that was filed against the senator after he requested public records related to the state's coronavirus pandemic response and federal spending. The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that Democratic state Sen. Jacob Candelaria filed the notice of intent to sue Monday to expose the alleged retaliation he faced after filing public records requests with the governor's office last year. Nora Meyers Sackett, a spokeswoman for Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, says no retaliation occurred.